Monday, December 16, 2013

Yin and Yang – Success and Failure

Yin and Yang is an ancient Chinese symbol / concept that in a simplified definition reflect light and dark (positive and negative).  They are dependent upon one another and show that each side contains a piece of the other.  If the white portion represented a person that lives a righteous life and the dark represents someone that lives an immoral life, the two must co-exist as contrasts to each other.  The smaller spots show each one also has the propensity or the attribute opposite to themselves, such that the righteous man could do something immoral (think of men of faith that commit a crime) or an immoral person can do acts of kindness (money from ill-gotten means donated to help those less fortunate).  

In applying this concept to the world around us, we have all met someone educated in a prestigious school and yet made stupid decisions.  Conversely, we have all heard of people that could barely contribute to a conversation of any caliber, yet attained high positions within their companies.  This brings up the question, if we strive to be successful, do we each have within us the seeds for failure?  Randy Gage, a successful network marketer, speaker and author, in his book “Why You’re Dumb, Sick and Broke…And How to Get Smart, Healthy and Rich!” talks about how he strove for success, but had within himself the seeds for extreme failure (almost got himself killed).  Likewise, I have heard Donald Trump talk about how he went from being highly successful, then having his companies head towards bankruptcy because of his own actions.  In both of these examples (and there are others), these men realized where they were and took the steps to mend their lives.

If men that have achieved high success, can also hit times in their lives where failure is a fact, do we also have the same capacity?  Of course the answer is yes.  Using myself as an example, I work hard to better myself, listen to positive audio, engage in personal development and generally project a positive attitude.  Occasionally, I do have missteps and make stupid decisions (no, I am not going to go into details).  Over the course of a lifetime, they might not seem to be significant.  However, small missteps can unintentionally hurt others and over time can accumulate to have major impacts (as outlined in Jeff Olson’s “The Slight Edge”) on ourselves and those around us.  We must always remain on guard and evaluate all of our actions to maintain the path that we wish to travel on.  We all have the choice to step off the path, whether intentionally or not.  We continue, however, to strive to be the Yang (bright, positive), even though we carry a piece of Yin (dark, negative) within us.

For more information on defining Yin and Yang, refer to the website